114 | Generations of Adventure with Diane Nachel

photo of woman in her sixties camping in the mountains
Embark on a wild ride with me as Diane recounts her epic journey across the United States, exploring the vast beauty of this country on a cross country road trip while also working in some of the most stunning national parks. The sense of freedom and self-discovery experienced along the way. In this podcast, she shares her experiences, adventures, and insights for women of her generation to know that their are so many opportunities and adventure awaits at any age.

Hello and Welcome to Ordinary Sherpa, I am your host Heidi Dusek.  Today in the Gap Year Adventures we are taking a down day which we have found to be so critical to an adventurous life. 

When I left W2 work and embarked on this gap year I thought I would want some structure, a routine, and perhaps some documentation of our adventures so I committed to keeping a gap year journal with anyone who wanted to follow our adventures. I batch recorded podcast episodes so I could keep up with the editing and publishing on the road. I launched a membership to help stay connected. After 4 weeks I found myself falling behind – I had created work for myself. I literally have Weeks 5 and 6 of the gap year emails in draft form and literally thousands of pictures to create content with. Every time I sit down to “catch up” I feel overwhelmed and move onto something else.

  • Each week I have moments of “I am exactly where I am meant to be” and usually bouts of doubts with thoughts such as “we are spending too much money,” “Maybe we should stay home for the summer” “are the kids doing enough learning” and truth be told I sometimes am frustrated and tell the kids they should be grateful to have this experience (NOT PROUD OF THIS). I sometimes wonder if instead of the sports parent I have become the travel parent giving my kids something they didn’t ask for. These are regular conversations
  • I don’t need as much structure as I thought I would. We plan at least 1-2 down days per week. As I stated earlier I am really trying to focus on the priorities highlighted in Metrics of Thriving. Ordinary Sherpa sometimes fits in those top 3 areas and sometimes it doesn’t. I didn’t build this brand to replace my job and I need to continually remind myself of that.
  • Having he destinations defined was much easier than planning for virtually anywhere, anytime, any place. More freedom is not always better. I had grown accustomed to only booking our next stay. The east coast requires advanced planning. Having a skeleton of a route was required as much as I resisted.
  • I wondered with my extrovert tendencies if spending time mostly with my husband and kids would become a strain. It’s not. We communicate well and are able to have break away and independent time.

Our guest has been an indirect mentor for me not only in the adventures she’s embarked on, but also making the space for her daughter’s adventures to flourish. Diane is a retired schoolteacher who has traveled the globe for decades. However, it wasn’t until she took off on a seven-month road trip that she learned- much to her surprise- that she loves hiking and camping in the mountains of the west.

Key Takeaways

  1. Travel was one of the best forms of education. From state parks to moving the family to a foreign country. At 10 years old and living in a foreign country, learning it’s language and customs as a kid gave her the courage to do adventurous things as an adult.
  2. It was never an option not to travel. With family spread out we would meander our way to meet up with them taking side trips and exploring along the way.
  3. Travel journals for kids are a fun reflection to se what your kids got out of the travel experience.
  4. Explore opportunities to travel through professional development at work. Diane had several excursions as a teacher such as the currents and campsites of Lewis and Clark that brought history to life.
  5. Upon retirement she sold her home and traveled over 7 months, 23,000 miles, 33 states and visited 24 National Parks. She tent camped and couch surfed and had an absolute blast!
  6. Since she didn’t like road trips or driving the idea of a cross country road trip, she gave herself permission to turn around at anytime and only drive 3-5 hours a. day. She made an incredibly vague plan and when she realized she’d be on the other side of the country she questioned herself. Telling herself, “just 4 hours at a time” mantra kept her overwhelm at bay.
  7. Having time freedom is very freeing. Diane was able to follow her curiosity such as the time she ended up on a kayak in Austin. Not having a definitive plan has been one of the greatest joys of retirement.
  8. As a follow up she applied to work at national parks 4.5 months a year living in a dorm. She never saw herself as a hiker or camping in the mountains. Having the park as her backyard immersed herself in that experience making her very passionate and protective of the parks.
  9. Setting up her tent the first night, she looked up and said “this is exactly where I am supposed to be” and she felt that way ever since. Being alone she finds she extends herself more and is forced to connect with others.
  10. Finding people out on the trail or in the campground she realized others are here for the same reason I am. It becomes a great equalizer and we are able to dive into meaningful conversations more quickly.
  11. “Your next step is whatever leads you to your expansion. My sense of self expands beyond my physical boundaries at the same time showing me who I’ve been all along.
  12. My daughters inspire me. I get this from them. I hope to inspire are the 60+ year old women who aren’t sure what they can do next. There are countless opportunities out there for living an adventurous life at any age.
  13. Surrounding yourself with people ahead of you and behind you on the journey allows you to contribute up and contribute back leading to faster learning and greater sense of accomplishment.

To Connect with Diane

Email: dinamo53@gmail.com
Join the Ordinary Sherpa Community on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ordinarysherpa

Where to Listen

Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher,  Google Podcast, anywhere podcasts are played